Mineral Makeup: Are you getting what you’re paying for?

Mineral makeup is everywhere nowadays. They are not cheap either. Makeup artists, celebrities and even dermatologist highly recommend them. Foundation, bronzers, blush, eye shadows and even lipsticks are sold as mineral makeup. The great benefit of mineral products are that they do not contain pore clogging oils. They are perfect for sensitive skin as they are much less likely to cause skin reactions than other makeups on the market. Mineral foundations even offer a small amount of sun protection since ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are natural sun blocks. (Note that you still need an actual sunscreen in addition to mineral makeup.) Zinc oxide is also anti-inflammatory which helps to reduce irritated or easily irritated skin.

With all of these benefits, how can you go wrong? Simply put, you must be read ingredient labels to ensure you’re getting what you are paying for. Many consumers might assume that mineral makeup products only contain mineral ingredients. While this was intended to be the case when mineral powders were introduced to the market in the 1970s, that is not always the case now. Be sure to check ingredient labels since not all mineral makeups are the same. True mineral makeup will have a very short list with ingredients like titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, mica, and iron oxides. Other ingredients, that can irritate sensitive skin types, are excluded. Some of these other ingredients are preservatives, parabens, mineral oil, chemical dyes, and fragrance. If you see a long ingredient list, then chances are it’s not a true mineral product. For example, liquid mineral products, such as a cream foundation, will contain more than just mineral ingredients since it’s simply not possible to create a liquid product with just minerals. Liquids require other ingredients mixed with the minerals. So, if you are looking for a true mineral makeup product, especially if you have sensitive skin, you may be better off sticking with loose mineral powder foundations.

What are your thoughts on mineral makeup? Have you found one that works for you?

Adding a Sensory Touch to Spa Therapy

Imagine you’re on a secluded beach. The waves of the ocean are crashing behind you in a rhythmic beat. The air smells of sea salt and a faint scent of jasmine in the distance. As you sip your cucumber infused ice water, you feel the warmth of the sun surround your body, while fully relaxed on your cushioned chair. Adding to this blissful setting is the rejuvenating effects you’re getting from your soothing facial. Wait, is this the description of someone having a facial on the beach? Not quite. The point is that the client is brought to this special place through their five senses. Adding even a few small touches that stimulate the senses can make a world of difference to a client! Here are a few ideas to help you enhance your basic spa treatments and create a unique, sensory experience for your clients.

  • Touch Apply simple acupressure and touch therapy techniques. Offer a foot bath or scalp massage during a facial. Provide a warm neck roll, high-thread count sheets, plush towels or robes. Another nice option using touch, is to create a space in the waiting area where clients can test out various products.
  • Taste Offer various teas and even chocolate. Display sliced fruits and cucumbers on a tray for clients to add some flavor to their ice water.
  • Sight Use dimming lights in the treatment rooms. Take advantage of the array of calming earth tone paint colors available. Be sure to have an organized space, and this includes the reception desk and waiting area. First impressions are important! Display flowers, candles, and relaxing images such as oceans or other nature scenes.
  • Sound A great new option being used at some spas is giving clients the option to connect an iPod to the room’s sound system. This completely blocks outside sounds and lets the client focus on the experience itself. Relaxing music is a popular choice of many spas, but the sounds of nature is great option. What better way to create that beach image than hearing actual waves crashing.
  • Smell We all know that aromatherapy is important for a good spa experience. A spinoff to this idea is that spas will create their own “signature scent.” They will also offer products that use the same scents so that clients can take their experience home with them.

As you can see, it doesn’t take much effort to make clients feel like they are receiving a five star treatment. Try a few of these ideas and your happy clients will surely come back for more!

Sweeten Up Your Skin Care Routine with Honey

Honey has been referred to as liquid gold because of all of it’s health benefits. Honey is just as amazing for the skin when applied topically, as it has been for centuries. Honey is an organic product that does not contain chemicals and or preservatives. In fact, honey has a very long shelf life on its own and will probably outlast all of your current skin care products.

The natural sweetener nourishes the skin with nutrients that include vitamins B and C, amino acids and minerals. It has antibacterial properties that helps to speed healing and prevent infection, making it a great choice for acne prone skin. Honey is a humectant, which means that it attracts and locks in moisture and helps skin to glow. It does this without drying or oily effects, which makes it beneficial for both dry and oily skin types. Last, but certainly not least, honey has natural antioxidant and anti aging qualities. Younger looking skin sounds pretty sweet, doesn’t it?

It’s no wonder there are so many skin care products on the market today that contain honey. You can even make your own honey based face mask at home. Check out some of our products that contain honey as a top ingredient and see the delicious results for yourself!

Top Qualities of an Esthetician

Congratulations, you’re a certified esthetician! It’s now time to go out and use those skills you’ve learned. Simple as that, right? Well, don’t forget the importance of repeat clients and refferals. What are the top qualities that clients are looking for in an esthetician to keep them coming back? Read on to find out.

First and foremost, you must be knowledgable. Considering you went through a lot of training to get here, you are most likely excited about the world of skincare and ready to perform. However, there is always more to learn about the skin care industry. Consider participating in educational workshops and advanced courses to ensure you are keeping up with the latest trends, techniques and products. Attend trade shows and read up on current spa or skin care magazines and web sites. Also, be sure you know your products really well. Research any new ingredients so that you don’t inadvertently use an irritating product on a sensitive skin type. In this industry, there’s always more to know and learn, so keep up educating yourself.

Good communication skills are a must. It’s important to start a dialogue with your client before jumping into the treatment. Be sure to ask your client about their skin type, skin care regime and the products that they currently use. Make note of any concerns or issues that the client may have and perform a thorough skin analysis. The communication should then continue as you describe each step of the treatment.

Care and consideration for your clients. A good esthetician doesn’t just go through the motions. They are passionate about their job. They give their undivided attention, listen to their clients needs and show overall compassion. Customize your treatments based on the client’s skin care needs and consider adding in a special touch to your service. At the end of the treatment, offer samples of the products you used or recommended during the treatment.

These ideas are quite simple, aren’t they? However, these qualities also separate the good estheticians from the great estheticians. Now go out there and be great! A successful career awaits!

If you are interested in our upcoming workshops or advanced classes, visit our continuing education page for more information.

Be Nice to Your Skin – 15 Bad Skin Habits

Are you being nice to your skin? It’s important to put an end to the bad habits that can wreak havoc on your skin. Below are 15 common habits to avoid so that your skin stays young and healthy looking.

  • Smoking. You’ve heard it before. Smoking causes premature aging, wrinkling, yellowish tint to skin, increase in skin cancer. There’s no better time to quit than now.
  • Excessive Drinking. A glass here and there isn’t harmful, but excessive drinking can cause increased sagging of the skin over time. Moderation is key!
  • Skipping Sunscreen. We’ll say it again and again. Skipping a broad-spectrum sunscreen can eventually lead to skin cancer and premature aging. You should wear sunscreen on a daily basis. While we’re on the subject, stay away from those tanning beds too, as they are just as risky as exposing skin to the sun itself.
  • Lack of Sleep. Not getting enough zzz’s can create a sallow complexion. Stress caused from lack of sleep can cause acne and other skin issues.
  • Sleeping in Makeup. It’s simply a bad idea to leave a layer of makeup and dirt on your face overnight. Why take the risk of increasing breakouts on your skin?
  • Picking, Popping and Scratching. These bad habits push bacteria into pores, causing infection and scars. Treat pimples with a 2.5% benzoyl peroxide in the evening instead and you’ll find that it will clear a lot quicker.
  • Over-Exfoliating. Yes, you can get too much of a good thing. Too much exfoliant can dry and irritate the skin. Exfoliate just once a week if you have dry skin and twice a week for oily skin.
  • Using the Wrong Products for Your Skin Type. Know your skin type and use the correct products to avoid breakouts, irritation, and dryness
  • Neglecting the Neck and Chest. These areas are exposed just as much as your face. Products like sunscreen, moisturizers and even exfoliants, should be used on the neck and chest to prevent aging, wrinkling and skin cancer.
  • Not Enough Attention to the Eyes. Signs of aging will show up in the eye area first due to the very thin skin. Use anti-aging eye creams or peptides to keep this skin moisturized and looking youthful.
  • Not Cleaning Makeup Brushes or Sharing with Others. Simply put, if you don’t clean your makeup brushes, you will spread bacteria which leads to breakouts. Clean your makeup brushes weekly and be sure to let them fully air dry before storing to prevent more bacteria from forming.
  • Phones. Wipe down phones regularly to avoid spreading bacteria to face and consider using the speakerphone when you chat.
  • Not Consuming Enough Water. Sure, getting your eight glasses of water a day is good, but are you eating your water too? Fruits and vegetables help the body retain water better which means that cells can better absorb water and nutrients.
  • Ignoring Moles and Other Skin Changes. Skin cancer that can be serious if left untreated, so be sure to visit your dermatologist for annual scans. If you find a new mole or change in a mole’s appearance, then call to be seen even sooner.
  • Lack of Exercise. Regular exercise will increase blood flow and give you healthy skin. So get moving!

Trend Alert: CC Creams

Seems like we were just discussing the BB cream trend and all of a sudden there are CC creams! Just what is this new addition to the alphabet soup of skin care products? We have the answers, so read on!

The “CC” stands for Color Correcting or Color Control. They are the next generation of BB creams and have been quite popular in Asia. CC creams were introduced to the US market this past October. These creams are similar to BB creams in that they combine coverage, skin nourishment and sun protection in one product. However, CC creams don’t stop there. They are not oily and have a much lighter texture, similar to that of a mousse. This makes it a great choice for those with oily or acne prone skin. CC creams work for more skin tones than BB creams. The coverage is also greater than that of BB creams, so it works more like a foundation. Another huge advantage over BB creams is its anti-aging features. CC creams promote collagen growth which reduces the look of fine lines and wrinkles. It brightens the skin tone and reduces the appearance of skin discoloration over time. That’s some serious multitasking for one product! So how do you choose? If you’re looking for a basic tinted cream, then stick with the BB cream. If you have oily skin, want better coverage or are interested in anti-aging benefits, then you will probably like a CC cream.

So have you tried a CC cream?Let us know what you think!

Why Should I Wax?

It’s time to pack those long pants away and break out the cute sundresses, skirts and shorts. Are you ready to show off those legs? Have you considered having your legs waxed to prepare them for summer? Maybe you’re on the fence and keep resorting to your razor, day after day. If you’re tired of the daily chore of shaving, then consider waxing. You’ve already got a busy schedule. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a few extra minutes in the morning?

Waxing has many benefits over shaving. For one, the results are long lasting. Hair is removed at the root, so it takes much longer to grow back. You can have smooth, hair free legs for up to a month or even longer! When the hair does grow back, it will be finer and softer. Shaving cuts hair at the skin’s surface, which is the cause of that stubbly feeling. Waxing eliminates those prickly legs! You will also avoid razor burn and the corresponding red bumps. Lastly, the more frequently you wax, the less regrowth there is overall. This is due to damage of the hair follicle, which is similar to what happens during laser hair removal.

Is fear of the pain holding you back? It’s actually not as bad as you think. Taking ibuprofen or similar pain reliever approximately an hour before your wax will help quite a bit. Having the procedure done by a professional esthetician will also be quicker and much less painful than trying to wax at home. If you have sensitive skin, then hot or “hard” waxing will be better for you than strip waxing. Also, waxing trends are changing and spas are moving toward more soy-based waxes. These waxes are healthier for the skin since it bonds to the hair instead of the skin. This results in less pain and clients experience less irritation.

You don’t have to stop at your legs! Waxing gives so much flexibility and is beneficial for both men and women. You can wax almost any area of the body including the bikini line, eyebrows and even the back and chest.

If you’re ready to experience long lasting smooth skin, then go get your wax on! We are offering a 10% discount off all waxing procedures from now until July 31, 2013. Call 781-935-3344 ext. 229 to schedule an appointment.

Could Your Skin Use a Dose of Vitamin C?

A hot trend in facials right now is the vitamin C facial. You are most likely aware that vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. In fact, a few years back, a study was conducted at Tulane University School of Medicine by Patricia K. Farris, MD. Her study found that vitamin C, when topically applied, effectively promotes “collagen synthesis, photoprotection from ultraviolet A and B and lightening hyperpigmentation.”

So what does all of that mean? Vitamin C brightens and evens out skin tone by fading sun spots or other skin discolorations and reduces redness and irritation. The anti-aging features of vitamin C help to diminish fine lines and reduce wrinkles while repairing damaged cells and promoting collagen production. After a vitamin C treatment, the skin is more firm and glowing. An added bonus of vitamin C is that it helps to actually prevent future skin damage.

If you have mature or sun damaged skin, a vitamin C facial is a great option, but this treatment is beneficial for all skin types. We offer vitamin C facials at our clinic are currently offering a 20% discount off all facial and spa treatments from now until July 31. It’s a great time to experience a vitamin C facial for yourself! Call 781-935-3344 ext. 229 to book an appointment.

Parabens: What’s the Big Controversy?

Have you heard about the parabens controversy? What are parabens and what’s the big deal? Parabens are a group of chemicals used as preservatives in skin care and cosmetic products. They are also used in shampoos, deodorants and other personal care products. Their role is to prevent bacteria and fungus from forming within the products. Parabens have been used for many years and are found in about 90% of skin care products. They are effective and very inexpensive for manufacturers to use.

However, there have been concerns over whether parabens impact estrogen levels which can in turn be associated with some forms of breast cancer. Studies have been done on laboratory rats where it was found that parabens entered the body through the skin and estrogen-like activity was found in the animals. For comparison, it is important to note that the estrogen found from parabens was much weaker than estrogen levels found in products like those used for hormone replacement therapy. Also important is that the studies that have been done so far have been too small not entirely thorough to prove anything for certain. This is still being researched and any new data will be reviewed by the US Food & Drug Administration. For now, there is no definitive answer on whether parabens cause cancer.

It is understandable that some consumers still want to avoid any potential risk of cancer. Paraben-free products can be difficult to find, but are becoming more available. If you are concerned, simply look for parabens on the ingredients list before you buy. Some common parabens you may find are methylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben. Be prepared to spend more since paraben-free products can be expensive. They also have a lower shelf life due to the absence of preservatives, and will need to be replaced more frequently than products containing preservatives.

So what are your thoughts? Do you plan to ban parabens from your skin care routine? Are you waiting for more substantial data confirming there’s a link to cancer? Comment below or on our Facebook page.

Slather It On!

In just a month it will officially be the first day of summer. School will be finishing up for some and we will be enjoying beaches and other outdoor activities. Let’s face it, we had a long winter and want to enjoy the beautiful summer weather! But slow down now. Are you forgetting something? It’s time to be even more diligent about wearing sunscreen. Sure, we’ve all had those moments where we thought “Oh, it’s a little cloudy. I will be fine for just an hour.” Then you return indoors and see the red glow on your skin. Wearing sunscreen is crucial in protecting our skin from sun damage, premature aging and even skin cancer. The time to start thinking about sun protection is now. Sunscreen should actually be applied all year long to exposed skin. We expose much more skin in the spring and summer months, so it is especially important to make sunscreen a part of your daily routine.

Here are some helpful tips to help you understand how sunscreen works and to find the best one:

  • SPF. SPF stands for “Sun Protection Factor.” It is a measure of the sunscreen’s ability to prevent UVB damage, which is the redness from a sunburn. You should choose a minimum of SPF 15, which will block approximately 93% of the sun’s rays. The higher SPFs will block more, but it is important to note that no sunscreen will block 100% of the sun’s rays. SPF 30 will block 97% and SPF 50 will block 98%. While very fair skinned individuals or those with a history of skin cancer will get the most benefit from these higher SPFs, most of us can get by with just an SPF 15 or SPF 30.
  • Broad-Spectrum. It is important to choose a sunscreen that is labeled as “broad-spectrum,” as it will protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Even though UVB rays are what causes sunburn, both types of rays can cause skin cancers and skin damage.
  • Apply. Sunscreen should be first applied 30 minutes prior to sun exposure. This will allow enough time for the sunscreen to sink into the skin. This isn’t the time to skimp. It will take 1 oz of sunscreen to provide the proper amount of coverage.
  • Reapply! Sunscreen needs to be reapplied at least every two hours to be effective, or more often if you sweat, get wet, or towel off. Even water-resistant sunscreens need frequent reapplication.

So be smart this summer and all year long. Find an effective sunscreen and commit to using it daily. Your skin will thank you by looking healthy and youthful for many years!